Letters, August 11

I worked with the late Alan Sefton, internationally recognised natural historian, in the early 1980s when the discussion was about the location of the third runway for Sydney. Alan suggested, tongue in cheek, that it should be built in the Royal National Park, as the deer had destroyed the natural environment.

He spoke about the loss of the coastal heath and rainforests in his lifetime.

Attempts by NPWS to cull deer in the Royal National Park after the fires of 2001 was met with a protest of don’t shoot Bambi. The deer population virtually doubles every two years and now stretches from Queensland, along the ranges to Adelaide.

The problem is not unique to the Illawarra, just we are seeing a greater density of deer.

The problem is a national one that needs to be addressed by the state and federal bodies.

Ian Young, East Corrimal

Tony Abbott has announced there will be an investigation into spending entitlements for politicians, which is a good thing. They certainly do not need any more pay rises, as their wages are indexed to inflation and just go up automatically. I believe John Howard did that.

But I notice that Tony did not order an investigation when statistics were released showing that female self harm and suicide are on the rise in Australia.

Tony, be remembered for something other than wrecking the Reef. You even put your name to that abomination. At least John Howard wasn’t silly enough to do that.

Martina Thiele, Port Kembla

There is no doubt that a call for a change in laws regarding human or civil rights can cause both polarisation and heightened emotions in the community. Same-sex marriage lobbyists may be “loud” and “emotional” (Ray Robinson, Your Say, August 5), in public demonstrations, but so too are BlueScope workers amid fears of the steelworks closure. So too are the anti-CSG protesters and Stop Cuts to TAFE supporters.

The debate between Senator Bernardi and Senator Wong was very civilised, despite some clenching of jaws. Bernardi favours a plebiscite, Wong sees it as a delaying tactic. Tongue in cheek, she did say that she stood with Senator Bernardi against bestiality, but it is this comment, previously aired by Bernardi, that is both inflammatory and not evidence-based.

Saying he would accept the result of a plebiscite if he is proved wrong can hardly be called “fair-minded”. Faced by an audience of the press and TV cameras, I would call it pragmatism.

Open discussion and research-based information may drag on for months until the public is thoroughly sick of it all, media shock-jocks will have a ball and society even more divided. On the other hand, democracy, enlightened reason and the will of the people will have the last word.

Barbara Cattunar, Wollongong

Seems crazy that with Australia’s vast mineral wealth we cannot supply our Aussie steelworks the raw materials at cost to make steel and save thousands of jobs. Our Port Kembla steelworks is on the coalfields and Whyalla Steelworks at the iron ore mines. It’s logical to ship coal to Whyalla and bring back iron ore to Port Kembla. Unfortunately BHP put shareholders’ profits before Aussie jobs and took the valuable iron ore and coal mines from the steelworks.

Kenny Pearson, Albion Park Rail

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